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European Slave Trade and Intra-African Slave Trade

The history of the slavery as a notion is very long, however the European slave trading is peculiar in regard to the destructive influence it brought to Africa. The slave trade, which appeared in the 13th century, seriously altered the determination of slavery for ages and caused the appearance of a new form of slaves. This type mainly incorporated Africans who were kidnapped or taken by force. In fact, European slave trade and Intra-African slave trade share some common features; however, the majority of characteristics of these two types are extremely different. They are especially discrepant in regard to the relevance of skin color, social position and motility, limitation laws, and cultural standards. The current paper will compare and contrast these two types of slave trade.  

The archeological information concerning the Neolithic Europe vividly demonstrates that slaves were among the earliest objects of trade. Thus, slave trading was a well-grounded operation in the La Tune culture of the Celts during the first century of our era. This trading proceeded down to the Viking era. It is improbable to make any analysis of the extent of the European slave trade. The latest studies have a tendency to underplay the degree of destructiveness of the Viking incursions. For instance, it is now widely concerted that the majority of the incursions into England were initial phases of settlement. It is also possible that the majority of the slaves captivated by the Scandinavians during their Western European incursions were utilized by the raiders themselves either in their home societies or as labor workers in the location they settled. The heaviest traffic in slave in relation to the Western Europe involved short distances. The majority of slaves could have been captured and bought for the Scandinavian home market along the Scandinavian shores. Similarly, the slaves of the settlements in the British Isles could have come chiefly from other parts of this location. Nevertheless, there might also have been a shunting system essential to avoid excessive running away and similar to that of the indigenous slave-trading systems of West Africa. The ‘blue men’ of Ireland and the ‘bright-fleshed’, flaxen-haired boys and girls in the homosexual and heterosexual harems of the Muslim East much have established a miserable part of the overall volume of the European slave trade. The total slave population of Western Europe was approximately 3.3 million. It is practically impossible to evaluate the number of the Eastern Europe slaves except from the fact that their amount has been much higher. Thus, it is possible to assume that slave population was both socially and biologically reproductive. The annual demand for slaves existed merely to meet the requirement of new settlements and to compensate for social ‘leakage’ caused by manumission.

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When the Portuguese are compared to the rest of the Europeans, it becomes obvious that they were the only ones who practically created a trading scene with the Africans on the WesternCoast. In contrast to the English and the Spanish who observed Africans as pagans, the Portuguese did not observe Africans as uneducated negro people who are uncivilized and need European religions. The Portuguese cooperated with royal African elite who also partook in the European Slave trade as well as the Intra-African slavery. Therefore, the incorporation of Africans in the slave trade has been merely as high as in the European countries where people were kidnapped as the slaves. Slavery, which existed before the European slave trade, was an articled system. It incorporated slaves that were able to get out of their articled and bound states. Thus, the destructive European slave trade demonstrates that sometimes the slave was involved in trade purely as a commodity. However, the Intra-African trade demonstrated that the slave was figured both as commodity and as producer. During the major periods of the human past, slaves had been taken from subdued societies and beaten armies, and numerous slaves were directly sold (or even exposed themselves for sale) into servitude by the authorities or even parentages. Thus, the European trading in humane commodities starts exactly at the outset of European dealings with Africa. In fact, early types of servitude had been pure commercial affairs while the slavery was not grounded on race during the major time of the human history. Thus, racial slavery meaning the slavery, which is grounded on race stood for a method of disjointing slaved people from independent, is a mintage of the 17th century. Thus, the Portuguese trade traffic was much discrepant from the nature of the posterior slave trading. Strictly speaking, the Africans had not been slaves as they were articled servants/domestics. These people were freed upon some particular period of time. People had not been born as slaves, which means that infants of articled servants had been free. As it was already mentioned, slavery was not racially grounded. The Africans who were abducted by the Portuguese colonialists were christened, a lot of these Africans had been cultured and literate, and all of them integrated into the low class of the Portuguese society. It also means that Africans and Europeans intermarried. Slavery based on the race did not appear on a sudden. Tardily, the Portuguese and Spanish model of unwilled serfdom practiced in America turned into the diocese of black Africans, and such unwilled serfdom developed into full-size slavery. In order to sustain the “working populations”, Europeans were supposed to create a new-made notion: race. To accomplish this, two steps were taken. Europeans focused unwilled servitude only on black Africans and created the notion of race to clarify this focus efficiently denoting Africans as a “lesser” species. In addition, Europeans evolved unwilling selfdom into full-size slavery by redefining the unwilled serfdom of Africans as undetermined in time. It means that the person who has been once enslaved would remain with that status of slave until death. Europeans also invented a complete slave class grounded on abatement, which means that the children of slaves became slaves themselves.

A great number of people do not know such fact from the history of Africa that there was Intra-African slavery, which originated way before the Atlantic slave trade. It is not known when precisely the slavery has started in Africa, but the history of the continent suggests that it has been a capstone of the continent’s evolvement. Despite the fact that slavery in Africa was different from the oriental slavery appearing in the western part of the world, it does not mean that it was devoid of utilization of slaves. Thus, the idea regarding slaves in African communities suggests that they have not been all-round ownership or movables of their holders as it has been foreign to the continent until Africa started trading with Europe. The Intra-African slave trade demonstrates that the recruiting of slaves on the continent was chiefly performed by warfare among states, cities, and communities. Thus, people became prisoners of war. The majority of the wars resulted in taking extremely huge amounts of prisoners assimilating them into the territory and turning them into slaves of the wining states. Along with that, victorious states made weaker communities enter vigorous states or induced weaker communities to enter into a tributary bargains at the same time when crimes, pressures, debts, menace, and famine frequently provoked people to leave their homes and place themselves into freewill slavery. Despite the fact that some slaves appeared in the Intra-African slave trade via war and incarceration, the majority of the Intra-African slaves were sold to their holders by their families. When a family believed that it had too many children, some of the children were sold off to a slave owner. Nevertheless, slaves in the Intra-African system had less cultural discrepancies from their holders due to the fact that the larger part of Intra-African slaves was enslaved near their homes. The Intra-African trade was mostly interested in women due to the fact that the proprietors were searching for the domestic assistance and concubines (meaning a woman who is the exceptional sexual partner of her holder despite the fact that she is not his wife). Slaves in the Intra-African slave trade had the hope of escape. Nevertheless, in the case when they were sold by their families, their family could return the escaped slave back to the owner. In addition, the development of the plantations in the New World merely aggravated the existent system provoking more African communities and tribes to take more slaves in the process of their wars in order to trade them to the Europeans for weapon. This allowed them to become more powerful and get more slaves. 

The slavery as a notion existed both in Europe and Africa. Nevertheless, it differed significantly in form and the attitude to slaved people from what people know today about this process. Thus, the 15th century brought an exceptional connection and mutuality between Africa and Europe, which provoked the decimation and drastic decrease of the population level in Africa but brought the opulence and evolvement of Europe. European and Intra-African slave trade have a number of discrepant features. Most importantly, Intra-African slavery used to be more of an interim state while Europeans turned it into a matter and deal of property.

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